Dizziness and vertigo are a very common complaint of many patients. The most common vertigo diagnosis is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is caused by atypical movement of otoconia (calcium carbonate crystals) within the inner ear canals. The inner ear canals are filled with fluid and when the crystals float into the canals, they stimulate the receptors located in the canal, which give the patient the sensation of vertigo.
BPPV symptoms can be caused by several different factors. Most common is a change in position of the head and the body (i.e. rolling over in bed, sitting up while in bed, bending forward). The onset of vertigo symptoms is generally fast and lasts only a few minutes. However, the patient may not feel well for up to a week. The vertigo will generally continue to occur with the provoking body/head movement until the crystals are relocated to their appropriate location in the inner ear.
But how do the crystals return to their proper location? This is where a physical therapist can be helpful! Physical Therapists that have special training in vestibular (inner ear) rehabilitation can evaluate the cause and type of BPPV and then design a treatment plan that will help to resolve the vertigo and relocate the crystals to their appropriate location in the inner ear. There are several different maneuvers that help to correct BPPV, including the most commonly used maneuver called the Epley Maneuver. There are many online pictures and videos that help to instruct patients in this maneuver; however, seeing a skilled Physical Therapist that is trained to thoroughly evaluate your vertigo will make the difference in how well you respond to treatment. If you or someone you know if suffering from vertigo, seeing a physical therapist can significantly reduce or abolish your symptoms. At STAR Physical Therapy we have a physical therapist specially trained in Vestibular Rehabilitation. Please call us today at 425-1018 if you would benefit from these services!
Heather Chatt, PT, DPT, OCS, Cert. MDT